Posts tagged ‘laughter’

April 24, 2019

#569 – Live Better with RA – Tip #5


Image courtesy of Samantha Mesones.

Tip #5 – Laugh and/or Smile

I was recently reminded about the healing power of laughter. I had injured myself doing some leg exercises with weights, which were too heavy. (It’s a reminder that I’m more delicate than I think I am!) One evening, I watched a number of YouTube videos featuring this great observational comic, whom I found to be laugh-out-loud funny. The next day, I felt significantly better. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not. Find what tickles your funny bone and indulge.

The Power Behind a Smile

So, you haven’t had a good laugh in awhile. Try on a smile for a boost of happiness. On page 37 in Connected – How Your Friends’ Friends’ Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do, the authors explain:

If your friend feels happy, she smiles, you smile, and in the act of smiling you also come to feel happy. In bars and bedrooms, at work and on the street, everywhere people interact, we tend to synchronize our facial expressions, vocalizations , and postures unconsciously and rapidly, and as a result we also meld our emotional states.”

Even if you don’t feel happy, there’s value in turning that frown upside down. A study in the Association for Psychological Science shows that smiling, whether it be a Duchenne smile (the muscles surrounding both the mouth and eyes are engaged), or a standard smile, can help to reduce the body’s stress response:

The results of the study suggest that smiling may actually influence our physical state: compared to participants who held neutral facial expressions, participants who were instructed to smile, and in particular those with Duchenne smiles, had lower heart rate levels after recovery from the stressful activities.”

It can be hard to smile and laugh when you are enveloped in a red-hot flare, when sleep is elusive and the worries accumulate faster than ants on your picnic table. You want to  break the cycle, so you have to start somewhere. A smile, even faked, can be of value. Combine it with a lot of the other strategies you’ll find on this blog and that faked smile may just become real.

Do it for the health of it!

More in This Series:

February 12, 2013

#397 – Your Funny Bone

Hello, my name is Marianna and I am not a comedian. I’ve come to terms with this. Every comedian needs an audience, and that’s a role I can perform. So, we’re left with a question – if a comedian cracks a joke and no one is there to hear it, is it still funny?

Stress can break your funny bone. Life—and you—become heavily weighted with seriousness. Add in a chronic illness, some, or a lot of pain, and your sense of humour rapidly evaporates. The good news is that bones mend.

Many studies are now proving the value of smiling and laughter. Not only do you breathe deeper when you laugh, providing each cell with oxygen, but the positive emotions you feel can undress your stress. Signals are constantly being sent to the brain from the heart, based upon how you think and feel. Positive thoughts and emotions release a different set of chemicals than do negative ones. Learning to use the power of your heart, can make you feel, well, more light-hearted. It becomes easier to smile and laugh, to find the humour in situations.

On my other blog, Auntie Stress Café, I regularly write a post called Mirthful Monday. These are things that put a smile on my face or make me laugh. This week, I posted a TED talk which explains my rationale for Mirthful Monday.

What are some of the things that put a smile on your face? What makes you laugh so hard that the tears roll down your cheeks? Create a list that you can pull out when times get tough.

Here’s something to get you going. (Be sure to stick it out until the third person comes on – you are not going to believe his laugh!:) )

Only a few more days left. Thanks for moving A Rheumful of Tips into the 11th position of’s Best Health Blog of 2012 contest. It’s a lot to ask, so I really, truly, from the bottom of my heart, appreciate your voting as frequently as you do. The contest ends on Feb. 15th.

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April 1, 2012

Laughing . . . at Myself

I often awaken before the alarm goes off.  The alarm clock I have is the type that doesn’t shed any light unless you press down on the Snooze button.

One morning, several weeks ago, I grabbed the alarm, pressed down and saw that it was 7:30.

I got up, started the coffee machine, let  Holly, our dog, out, fed her and filled her water bowl. Then, I checked my email, as well as that day’s Rheumful of Tips post.

“Hmmm, that’s funny,” I mused in my semi-somnolent state, as I peered at the computer with bleary eyes. “I wonder why today’s post isn’t showing up?”

Then, I looked at the time on the computer. 1:40 a.m. “Don’t tell me that the time is broken, too!” I thought to myself.

Off I went  to check the kitchen clock. Well, suffice to say that it was no surprise that Holly had gone back to bed. Which is exactly where I went, once I realized what I had done.

In my half-asleep state, I thought that I had obscured part of the seven when I checked the time. Since I had lots to do that day, I didn’t want to risk getting a late start, so I popped up out of bed—at 1:30 in the morning!

Apart from the fact that it happened in March, it could almost qualify as an April Fool’s Day joke!

Did you know that stress can break your funny bone? It’s a good sign that I am able to laugh at the goofy things I sometimes end up doing. That wasn’t always the case. When you live with a chronic, debilitating illness, there are days, and sometimes weeks, when nary a smile crosses your face. Laughter? Lighten-up? Harrumph!

Laughter is good for you. Not only do you breathe deeper, but you usually feel good when you laugh. It’s through feelings that you transform your stress.

How about you? Do you care to share any of your gaffes? C’mon, you know you want to! 🙂

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